Mets reach deal to develop Willets Point, according to reports


| mchan@queenscourier.com |



A new deal has been reportedly struck between the city and a real estate firm to redevelop Willets Point into a mixed-use retail and housing hub, according to reports.

The city rescinded its bid two weeks ago to acquire and develop Willets Point through Eminent Domain, and instead, according to published reports, has reached an agreement with Related Companies and Sterling Equities — which is controlled by the owner of the Mets and Citi Field — to build a 1.4 million-square-foot mall with a parking garage on one side of Citi Field and a 200-room hotel and stores on the other.

A Sterling spokesperson declined to comment, and Jennifer Friedberg, a spokesperson for the city’s Economic Development Corporation, did not confirm the reports but said the city expects to have an announcement in the coming weeks.

Published reports anticipate another prolonged process and said the new proposal awaits an environmental review, public hearings and a public review by the city. However, Friedberg said the city is still scheduled to complete the project in 2013.

According to the Wall Street Journal, developers have until 2025 to begin construction on the property.

Meanwhile, property owners in the 20-acre piece of land are still fighting to keep their businesses and are urging the city to repair the severely deteriorated streets before emergency response times are more hindered and further revenue is lost.

Attorneys representing the land owners are also seeking over $281,000 in legal fees and disbursements spent on the eminent domain case over three years.